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Operations team strengthen our success

Here at Midland Lead we are committed to working closely to support and develop our team and last year was no exception, and we were delighted to recruit a number of people in operations to help us continue to manufacture and supply high-quality lead products to our customers.

We have a clear training and development programme that is continually being rolled out and we invest in our people so that they are equipped with skills that will enable them to rotate their roles and progress. This includes training people to be able to operate different machinery safely and to be able to make their job both interesting and rewarding.

We took a moment to speak to a few operators to find out what it’s like to work at Midland Lead and why it is a great opportunity for those who may currently be seeking a similar role.

Ben McGarry started with Midland Lead in May 2021 as a warehouse and production operative after seeing the job advertised on Facebook: “I sent in an application on Facebook and I immediately got a response which was already encouraging, as some places can take a long time to get back to you. I was invited to an induction session and then a couple of days later I started working here.

“During the induction, it was clear that Midland Lead’s recruitment and commitment to the people was more about how you fit as a person, and I really liked that, I immediately felt part of a team. Since starting here I have been offered a lot of training and support to help me do my job safely and efficiently, as well as develop life-long skills. I very quickly gained a forklift licence and shortly after that achieved JCB loading shovel licence which gives me a great opportunity for progression. So, in less than a year I have a great job and gained two licenses.

“Another advantage of working here is that the jobs are varied as we rotate our role which makes our shifts go really quickly. The job I had before was single task focussed but here there are four main jobs in my area, and we all are trained in each part which helps us all understand every part of the job and work better as a team.

“My role is very physical and a couple of months ago I, unfortunately, had an accident outside of work, and instead of going off sick or on leave, I was immediately offered light duties until I recovered, which I really appreciated.

“One thing that has always been really clear since starting here is that I feel that if I want to do something else within the company I can do so – no matter what, from shop floor to office, the management are very supportive.

“The best thing about working at Midland Lead is my colleagues and managers, everyone pulls together, we are a tight team and I love this.”

Gary Owen joined Midland Lead in April 2021 and heads up the patination oil bottling section as well as slate cutting. He started as an agency worker and then soon after was appointed to a permanent role. “My journey is not very typical, a couple of years ago I was managing 650 staff until I decided to retire from a stressful career. However, retirement didn’t really suit me and when this role came up I thought ‘why not’ and I believe it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made in my working life.

“I genuinely think I have the best job in the world, I not only work on patination, but I can also work on cutting and Midland Lead will train me up in any area of the business to enable me to progress, but I love what I do.

“One of the things I love the most is the fact that every person who works here counts. Coming from big corporates, you are just a number, but Midland Lead is a family business that is passionate about its people and are also hands-on themselves, so we always feel connected. There is nothing we do in operations that the owners’ won’t or haven’t done and this makes a big difference in making us feel valued.

“I started work at 15 and this is the only company that has demonstrated that they really care about me as a person and have supported me with a number of things outside of work, and when I needed time off for personal reasons, they really had my back – and I will always be grateful for that.

“I have gone through lots of training I have got both the two and twelve-tonne forklift licences and I am currently doing my grabber training. I am also fully trained on the cutting stations which means I can rotate my job and I feel blessed because I can do lots of jobs rather than just one.

“The best thing about working here is that it is friendly and the professionalism of everyone is plain to see. Midland Lead really look after their staff and I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.”

Callum Stringer is a line operator and started in October 2021 after working in the hospitality sector for many years. He saw the role advertised at a local job fair after deciding he wanted a role that was more hands-on. “I was a night manager in a hotel and was looking for a change in direction with a company that offered training and support with a clear career progression. I was offered the job straight after the induction.

“The induction process was really inclusive, and we had the opportunity to see the processes of the whole company which was a breath of fresh air. Immediately we had a full breakdown of training and how the promotion system worked – I was taken on as an unskilled operator with an agency and then I quite quickly progressed, and I got my forklift licence just the other week. I also have first aid and fire marshal training; in just a few months I feel they have really invested in me.

“Every week we have a team meeting, and any training opportunities are put forward, anyone at any time can arrange additional training at any point. Here everything is about the people and even the weekly meetings are democratic, we can make suggestions and feedback without feeling embarrassed at all.

“On the line itself the guys have been showing me every part of the job, I can use the store, do the stack on the forklift and currently I am being shown the rewind which will be another part of the line I will be able to work. Once you are part of Midland Lead you feel valued and I really feel a sense of worth, I am not just another person punching in the timesheet at the end of a shift.

“Health & Safety is also really valued, and no corners are cut which makes me feel really safe, and the supervisor always makes sure we look out for each other too, so if we spot something we say something. In my whole career, this is the first place I have ever worked where the owners and managers make sure I am comfortable with the role and they take the time to listen to the feedback, even the canteen is a great break out space!”

Liam Jukes is also a line operator who started in August 2021 after starting at Midland Lead through an agency. “What attracted me to the job immediately was the company’s commitment to its workers, I came to a tour and Francoise and Andy put me at ease straight away. I previously worked on a picking line so was a big change with lots of variety and training and support I already have my 2.5-tonne forklift licence and I am planning to get more.

“Some of the biggest positives are that we get generous holidays which means I can spend more time with my family, it is also a very friendly environment, if we need help, we get it. I love the events they have for us to wind down such as the ice cream van in hot weather and doughnuts and treats.

“I have had two bonuses since starting which was really nice and made me feel valued, it’s a great team and I feel like we are always supported, if there is a problem, I know I can talk to anyone. We are always looking for new staff as we are busy and my advice to anyone considering working here is that you will get better opportunities here than you would at any of the big companies in production and warehousing. I spent eight years in my last job at Aldi and I was never offered a forklift licence or training, here it was more or less straight away. The job is also secure, and I don’t feel like I am just making up numbers when they are busy, if you work hard, they will show their appreciation. Overall, Midland Lead is a small company that cares I have learned more in six months than I did in eight years. I am excited about the future!”

Francoise Derksen adds: “Throughout 2021 Midland Lead has continued to invest in training and developing the team. The main idea behind our development training and ongoing investment in people is that we would like our workforce to be able to work in every area of the factory for both job satisfaction and to demonstrate our commitment to them.

“To have people skilled that can work in the cutting shop, board line, ancillary production, and to be able to work in the kettles, direct casting machines and the yard provides opportunities for people to improve their training and job prospects. It’s also great for the business and production efficiencies as our team can be working where needed, but it also means that the roles we offer is more varied and people can learn more skills and earn more money. From and Health and Safety point of view, it is documented that when people rotate their job it is also safer as less routine means that people are always learning, alert and don’t just do things on ‘auto-pilot’.

“We are currently recruiting, and we are looking for people from any background that like to learn, are flexible. We offer a wide range of training courses including driving all sorts of vehicles: counterbalance, loading shovel, exactor and also overhead crane training, banksmen training, first aid and fire marshal training.”

If you would like to join our operations team, please contact Francoise who will be happy to hear from you, please email or call us on 01283 224 555